Seven Lies Conservatives Tell About Jobs To Scare Us Into Doing Whatever They Want

Jobs - Seven outrageous GOP lies about jobs debunked. Cartoon: How rich people create jobs.

Recent reports have launched a new round of right-wing lies about Keystone XL, the ACA, and jobs. Here are the seven most common lies about jobs, debunked. Cartoon by Monte Wolverton via Cagle Comics.

It seems like every news cycle launches a fresh round of right-wing lies about jobs, unions, Keystone XL, and Obamacare. The GOP really wants us to think that giving more Americans access to healthcare will destroy jobs, that Keystone XL creates enough well-paying jobs to make up for all those toxic spills, and that everything that makes life better for folks on Main Street will mean fewer jobs.

If you take a long, hard look at what conservatives keep telling us, you’ll see a pattern. Every time we try and do anything to care for our people, preserve our natural resources, invest in our future, or simply pay our public servants’ pensions and other debts, the GOP tells us we can’t because we’ll all lose our jobs. Well, we’ve done it their way for nearly four decades, and now many of us no longer have any decent jobs to lose.

Since few things terrify most Americans — both left-leaning and right-leaning — more than the prospect of not having a job, all conservatives have to do is tell us all the jobs will go away and we’ll do whatever they want us to. It’s time we stopped falling for these blatant and manipulative GOP job lies. Enough is enough.

The seven worst GOP job lies debunked.

The problem with the GOP is that — as the old adage goes — they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Worse, they’re often flat-out wrong about the costs. Here are seven outrageous lies the GOP tells us about what creates and kills jobs, debunked.

1. Pollution and dirty energy creates jobs. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OHcrap) claims Keystone XL will create “more than 100,000 jobs.” But Brad Friedman from The Brad Blog works through the numbers and proves Boehner wrong. Really, Keystone would only create 35 permanent jobs; 16,100 temporary jobs for the two-year construction time frame; and 26,000 related jobs for businesses that serve workers at the construction sites. Are 35 permanent jobs worth cleaning up all those toxic oil spills?

For the GOP, it’s not really about “freedom” or “choice” or “jobs.” it’s about keeping workers desperate enough to keep jumping to the tune of their corporate masters.

2. Obamcare will cost the US over 2 million jobs. That’s not true. The New York Times reported the ACA added 203,000 jobs to the US economy in Nov. 2013. Yet, right-wingers and even reputable news outlets like Reuters claim the CBO report means Obamacare will cost the US over 2 million jobs. Brad Blog takes a closer look at the numbers and — once again — proves this isn’t so. Turns out, the report measured the number of hours per worker, not the number of jobs, and having health insurance will enable people to work fewer hours. In other words, some US workers can now afford to drop that second or third job, and the ACA is doing what it’s supposed to do. But the GOP doesn’t want workers to have any of that “freedom” and “choice” they’re always talking about. For the GOP, it’s not really about ‘jobs,’ it’s about keeping workers desperate enough to keep jumping to the tune of their corporate masters.

Graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comparing minimum wage rates vs. unemployment rates for Jan. 1950 to Jan. 2013.

This graph from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. shows there is no correlation between higher wages and fewer jobs.

3. Higher wages kill jobs. The GOP constantly yammers about how raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. Yet, over 60 years of data proves them wrong, as shown in the above chart. In fact, the number of jobs — as shown by higher rates of employment — often goes up when we raise the minimum wage. In 1950, the minimum wage doubled while jobs increased by 50%. In other years, the jobless rate either stayed the same or declined. The only exception was in the early 1970’s (1970-1975), due to a recession combined with an energy crisis. Also, Australia hiked their minimum wage to $16 USD and was one of the few “advanced” nations to avoid the 2009 global recession.

These numbers make sense, since anyone who has ever had a windfall knows, when people have more money, they spend more money. Which brings us to our next stupid GOP jobs myth…

4. Rich people create jobs. Despite nearly 40 years of proof to the contrary, the GOP still insist that rich people are “job creators,” and that’s why we should keep tolerating a system in which just one percent of people control half of the world’s wealth. Nick Hanauer, a card-carrying rich guy worth $1 billion, explained at a TED conference:, rich people don’t create jobs. Consumers with extra money to spend do.

“I have started or help start dozens of companies, and have — initially — hired lots of people. But if there was no one around who could afford to buy what we had to sell, all those companies and all those jobs would have evaporated […] Only consumers can set into motion this virtual cycle of increasing demand, and hiring.”

5. Raising taxes lowers job numbers. The GOP claims we can’t raise taxes to fund our schools, feed our people, repair our roads, invest in clean energy, and do what all other first-world nations do. Why? Because raising taxes raises unemployment. Many liberals believe this claptrap too. But there’s no truth in this. David Lynch from Bloomberg — not exactly a hot bed of leftist thought — writes that two decades’ worth of data shows that cutting taxes does not cut the number of jobs. In 1993, taxes went up by $241 billion and the economy added 15 million jobs and grew at a yearly rate of 3.8%. GOP lawmakers hate taxes so much, they’d rather let their own constituents starve than call on their rich backers to pay their fair share. Working people (i.e. most of us) pay up to 39% of their income in taxes. The wealthy pay less than half of that, because investments are taxed at lower rates than the money we actually work for.

If regulations mean fewer jobs, that’s because companies offshore jobs to avoid them.

6. Government regulations are job killers. Conservatives want us to think that evil laws from the US government are stifling the economy and killing jobs, but that simply isn’t true. If regulations mean fewer jobs, that’s because companies offshore jobs to avoid them. The GOP and their corporate masters claim our workers aren’t “competitive” with developing “Asian tiger” nations like China and Bangladesh. Maybe that’s because US workers have the nerve to expect things like breathable air and factories that don’t suddenly collapse and kill them. For all the GOP’s talk about “personal responsibility” and corporations being people, they don’t want businesses — or the top brass who control and profit from them — to be held accountable for anything they do. Right wingers take offense at the very idea that businesses should provide safe workplaces, clean up their messes, be good neighbors, and not discriminate against people.

7. Welfare keeps people from seeking jobs. Right-wingers keep slamming that message into our heads, and many of us believe it, even though it’s a cruel, flat-out lie… While food stamps and other programs may keep folks from being quite desperate enough to toil in third-world working conditions like many of our undocumented immigrants do, most would rather have a job that pays the bills. In fact, most people who receive help do work — or find a job within two years. Too bad so many of the jobs they find don’t pay enough. Others can’t work because they are too old, too disabled, or too young. One in four people on welfare are children. Of course being a child doesn’t hold water with hardcore right wingers like Sarah Palin who once claimed that child labor laws are wrecking our country.

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